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> Christmas Memories, (surely not too early a topic?)
Hobbes
post Nov 30 2010, 06:07 PM
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Well, tomorrow is the 1st of December and, what with the amount of snow the UK has been receiving the last few days, I don't think it is too awful to mention Christmas. Plus, I've had a few wintery songs entering my ears today so (right now, at least) I am feeling rather festive.

I think Christmas, for most people, tends to have two opposing feelings about it. Assuming you aren't totally pre-ghosts-Scrooge-esque, and thus hate it, or for religious/personal reasons you do not take part in the holiday, there is a certain amount of excitement that begins to brew up as the 25th approaches.

However, I think there's often some sadness at Christmas, too. Being one of the major events in the year, it is usually when friends and family get together, so it is undoubtedly a time when we recall the people we have lost in our lives.

But I don't want to depress people...

--

I find Christmas terribly nostalgic, and so it'd be nice to focus on some lovely yuletide thoughts.

What I would like you lovely people to do is post some jolly memories about Christmas. They can be from your childhood (those of you that aren't still in it wink.gif), from a few years ago, or just last year. And they can feature yourself, or your friends and family, or people that are no longer with us... or your dog, etc.

But... they must be stories that are a source of happiness for you smile.gif

And if you don't celebrate Christmas, but a different event during this holiday season, then share appropriately smile.gif


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Hobbes
post Nov 30 2010, 06:19 PM
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I suppose I should begin smile.gif

One memory that repeatedly comes up at Christmas concerns my granddad (no longer with us). He was a character at all times, regardless of festivities, but I remember his 'ways' at Christmas fondly.

Aside from insisting on leaving mid-afternoon to watch the Queen's speech at home (despite our repeated offers for him to watch it at our house), he was always particularly amusing with presents. He'd always give us specific information as to what he wanted, which was fair enough; it meant he'd always get something useful that he actually wanted. But, as a result, there was very little surprise for him. So, the wrapped up pillows would be handed to him, he'd squeeze the packaging, say, "Pillows?" and then put it to one side... still wrapped. As a child, this would annoy the heck out of me because I was in my usual state of desperately wanting to pull the paper off every gift.

We would, of course, give him presents that he'd had no say in, too. And he still seemed able - with a squeeze and a shake - to work out what it was without having to open it.

"Shirt?"
"Yes..."
*puts to one side*
"Don't you want to see what it looks like?"
"It's okay, it will be lovely, don't worry."

There wasn't any ungratefulness or obnoxiousness in it at all, so nobody was angry. We just found it amusing, particularly when - after he died - we were clearing the house and found the pillows in his wardrobe, still wrapped up. Even though he had asked for them, and even though the ones on his bed still needed replacing.


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LoLo
post Nov 30 2010, 09:26 PM
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Umm, this was difficult to think of because my family is a pit of dysfunction and I usually dislike the holidays for the simple fact that it means an entire day of family drama...but I think I found 2 memories. Wow!

My uncle Dion who was my favorite uncle and died when I was 10, always wrapped presents with lots and lots of tape. He did so because he had trouble getting the wrapping paper to go like he would want it to. We would tease him to no end about all the tape and really enjoyed the challenge that came with opening his presents.

I get accused of copying him when I wrap presents now, because I too use an insane amount of tape. I do this however, because it helps to make the paper tighter and to have a prettier looking package. If I'm feeling really mean I'll hide the tape so it's a surprise that it's difficult to open.

The other memory has to do with my exes family. The entire 3 years we were together, we only got to spend one Christmas together and boy was it an amazing Christmas. We went to his parents house to celebrate, and no one hid anything from each other. By this I mean if I wanted to smoke (because I was still smoking at the time) I just went out to the porch and had a cigarette. We had good conversation that wasn't filled with competing for attention and oh my god the food was divine. His mom really knows how to cook a ham and even though I'm not a huge fan of ham, I really really liked the ham that she made. When we were done with dinner we all watched a movie, had some wine (which never happens at my family events) and just kind of relaxed and enjoyed each others company.

Also I met his grandparent that Christmas and they were a riot. I was trying to be all polite and proper, because that's what I was taught how to do with older people and his grandma asked me, "Do you know what the California state bird is?" and when I responded with no (because I didn't take the time to think about it and realize it's the quail), she flipped me off. haha


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Hobbes
post Dec 3 2010, 01:29 PM
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Amongst the "normal" presents that had been bought for me and my sister, my mum would also buy silly ones... gifts that she knew we'd find amusing, but served no purpose other than to raise a smile.

The funniest thing about it is that, as my sister or I picked up a wrapped present that fell into such a category, my mum would audibly giggle, and you could see her trying to supress her smile. So we always KNEW it was going to something a little mad

She could never keep it hidden biggrin.gif


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LoLo
post Dec 3 2010, 03:49 PM
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QUOTE (Play-Doh Hobbes @ Dec 3 2010, 05:29 AM) *
Amongst the "normal" presents that had been bought for me and my sister, my mum would also buy silly ones... gifts that she knew we'd find amusing, but served no purpose other than to raise a smile.

The funniest thing about it is that, as my sister or I picked up a wrapped present that fell into such a category, my mum would audibly giggle, and you could see her trying to supress her smile. So we always KNEW it was going to something a little mad

She could never keep it hidden biggrin.gif


Now that is an awesome memory.

Last year my brother and his family were here and my nephew FINALLY figured out how to cover his uno cards so I wouldn't look over his shoulder to tell him what to play.


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just me
post Dec 3 2010, 03:56 PM
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Playing charades with the family, and my Grandad doing, what looked like, The Full Monty. Priceless.
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Mata
post Dec 3 2010, 11:06 PM
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I have a few. Memories tend to come out a little fragmented with me, like a picture painted on glass then broken into pieces, so here are the bits that I like:

One of my best friends Sues and I had been vaguely dating for a few months (not the Sues I was with for nearly ten years). We both knew that we would go our separate ways a couple of weeks after Christmas, but I very clearly remember lying curled up with her at Christmas listening to an album that I'd recieved that year. It was the third album by Enigma, and I still have flashbacks to that time whenever I listen to it. It's a memory of both happiness and sadness, but somehow incredibly evocative of that friendship.

I don't know why it should be a sad memory - it was a good time. It was complex, but nothing was wrong. Maybe I feel sad for how simple life seemed... But there is a lot of comfort in that memory too.

Another memory is a little more fuzzy. It was the first Christmas that I had spent away from home. My friend Martin was nearby so I was cooking a Christmas dinner for us both. I started drinking at about 11am whilst watching The Storyteller and peeling brussels sprouts. Drinking continued at a steady pace. Matt (Matthew on these forums, whom a few of you will have met) turned up at about 6pm, I think, with about another half-crate of beer. This ws then drunk. Everything else in the house with any alcohol in it was drunk. There was a lot of alcohol...

I think we have to reconstruct some of the evening based on evidence: around 36 cans of beer were empty, 1 bottle of sherry, 1 bottle of kahlua, 1 bottle of green ginger wine, and 1 bottle of brandy. There may have been wine involved, but I'm sure you can understand my lack of memory for some of the details.

I am pretty sure I utterly trounced them both on Quake III and Tekken III.

I had a hangover for three days afterwards.

It rocked.


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Cath Sparrow
post Dec 4 2010, 12:37 AM
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Did the food get any further than the peeling sprout's stage and if so was it actually edible? biggrin.gif


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Mata
post Dec 4 2010, 03:32 PM
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The food was awesome smile.gif It was the easiest Christmas meal ever. Frozen roast potatoes, loads of veg, a bung-in-the-oven-and-forget bit of turkey, and lots of gravy. I think there were nibbles with lots of salt later on, but things were a bit fuzzy by that point...


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Hobbes
post Dec 5 2010, 10:16 AM
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QUOTE (Mata @ Dec 4 2010, 03:32 PM) *
The food was awesome smile.gif It was the easiest Christmas meal ever. Frozen roast potatoes, loads of veg, a bung-in-the-oven-and-forget bit of turkey, and lots of gravy. I think there were nibbles with lots of salt later on, but things were a bit fuzzy by that point...


It sounds glorious smile.gif

~

My childhood home's ground floor had a "lap-able" layout: the rooms connected to each other in a way that meant you could run circles around the house. This also meant that, at Christmas, one of the door's into the living room could be kept closed. We would remove the handle, and then put the Christmas tree in front of it - meaning the living room wasn't totally dominated by it, and we could still get into the living room by going "the long way" around.

However, it would always take us several days for us to remember that we couldn't go through it; constantly running down the stairs, turning left, grabbing the handle, and walking straight into an unopenable door. We would attempt to make it more obvious each year by dressing the door up with decorations and lights in the hope it might make us remember, just in time. But it never seemed to work.

We would eventually remember during the last few days and then, once the Christmas tree had been taken down and the door made openable again, we would continue to avoid using the door for another couple of weeks because it had become habitual.


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elphaba2
post Dec 5 2010, 03:22 PM
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Aww!

I don't have a ton of warm fuzzy Christmas memories--we stick to tradition so tightly I think in part because it creates the effect of a continuous warm fuzziness rather than discrete memories. But I thought of one last night--when I was a kid, I got obsessed with making snow taffy, taking warmed-up maple syrup and pouring it over snow. I have no idea where this idea was introduced to me. Maybe some rascally quebecois, or maybe Future Me dropped in all "yo shorty, this stuff's delicious, this tire d'érable stuff". I don't know! But around Christmastime I'd pester and pester and pester my parents to make snow taffy, and they always said no, until one year. We had a huge fluffy blanket of snow outside, and I got to go out with my dad and scoop up two big baking pans of the stuff, and we all stood around in the kitchen nomming delicious maple candy while the snow fell outside.

side note: i don't understand how anyone can dislike snow. snow-related things, like shoveling? yes, I understand. But how can you dislike gorgeous little fairy-dust falling from the sky? i am a very confused elphaba in this regard.


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Hobbes
post Dec 5 2010, 05:17 PM
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QUOTE (elphaba2 @ Dec 5 2010, 03:22 PM) *
side note: i don't understand how anyone can dislike snow. snow-related things, like shoveling? yes, I understand. But how can you dislike gorgeous little fairy-dust falling from the sky?


I wish I could think of a more emphatic way to express this but:

DITTO!


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I_am_the_best
post Dec 5 2010, 10:24 PM
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Family Scrabble... oh dear...


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SPEAKERfortheLOS...
post Dec 6 2010, 12:43 AM
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Just don't play scrabble at a Christmas party with 3 English teachers... Ouch.


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Hobbes
post Dec 7 2010, 06:42 PM
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Although this often happened during the year, too, it seemed to happen more often at Christmas:

We would walk back and forth from the kitchen prior to Christmas dinner, taking dishes of vegetables, stuffing, sausagemeat, etc. from my mum's hands to the table. Then we'd all sit down, tuck in, and enjoy...

At some point, either when we were approaching "full capacity" of the main course, or often just as someone went to get dessert, my mum would suddenly go, "Oh! Dammit!" (or, when I was a bit older, something a little less savoury). She would have just remember that there was a tray of roast potatoes in the oven. Or a dish of yorkshire puddings. Or a bowl of something-or-other.

I don't recall it especially from my very-early-years, but as a teenager it seemed to happen every year smile.gif


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Daria
post Dec 7 2010, 11:52 PM
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QUOTE (elphaba2 @ Dec 5 2010, 04:22 PM) *
Aww!

I don't have a ton of warm fuzzy Christmas memories--we stick to tradition so tightly I think in part because it creates the effect of a continuous warm fuzziness rather than discrete memories. But I thought of one last night--when I was a kid, I got obsessed with making snow taffy, taking warmed-up maple syrup and pouring it over snow. I have no idea where this idea was introduced to me. Maybe some rascally quebecois, or maybe Future Me dropped in all "yo shorty, this stuff's delicious, this tire d'érable stuff". I don't know! But around Christmastime I'd pester and pester and pester my parents to make snow taffy, and they always said no, until one year. We had a huge fluffy blanket of snow outside, and I got to go out with my dad and scoop up two big baking pans of the stuff, and we all stood around in the kitchen nomming delicious maple candy while the snow fell outside.

side note: i don't understand how anyone can dislike snow. snow-related things, like shoveling? yes, I understand. But how can you dislike gorgeous little fairy-dust falling from the sky? i am a very confused elphaba in this regard.


Little House On The Prairie is the only other place I have heard people making maple-syrup-in-snow. It always sounded like an awesome thing to do, but we never got enough snow to do it.

My Christmases are split into three. There are those prior to my granpa's [sic] death, those after but before my parents' divorce, and then those after the divorce.
I was 9 when my granpa died, but as with most early childhood memories, it feels like there were more times than that. Christmas would be waking up stupidly early to open our stockings- my older brother, older sister and I- then watching christmas morning tv in the playroom and eating chocolate until 9am when we could finally wake up our parents. They'd get up, we'd have breakfast, open our gifts then head over to my (maternal) grandparents' house where we would swap gifts with our cousins and uncles/ aunts. Big dinner, then afterwards (whilst the adults were doing the washing up) the kids would create a play, dress up and then perform it in the lounge. The only one I properly remember was The Animals Of Farthing Wood- I remember wearing a card fox-mask- and being told by my sister to stay at the side because I couldn't remember anything I had to say. We would go home, tucked up in the back of the car in the blanket that was always over the back of granpa's armchair, and would always fall asleep before the 20 or so minute car journey was over. It seemed like such a treat, even at the end of a day full of gifts and rich food, to have granpa's blanket to take home and borrow until we saw them next.
Boxing day would be stressful and hellish, but more on that in a minute.

When my granpa died, my granma didn't "do" Christmas at her house anymore. She would maybe have a small christmas tree in the dining room window with satin baubles and thin, wirey tinsel but it was only to hang chocolates off and be a display for people walking past.
Christmas day would either be the aunts and uncles and cousins at their respective houses and have some family over, or my granma would choose whose house she would be at on Christmas Eve/ Day/ Boxing Day (three siblings' houses to choose from).
From this time, I remember mostly the Christmas Days/ Boxing Days when my dad's parents and grandmother would come over. We always had seen them during the holidays, but for some reason this era remembers them more- possibly because I was far more aware of the tension between my dad and his parents. His mum had left his dad with their two sons when my dad was in his teens. I have never met/ had contact my paternal uncle; he was always described as not being nice and there were stories of him having stolen things when he used to stay with my parents. There was a lot of resentment in my dad towards his mother, and this seemed to surface most at christmas when they would come over- granny, grandad (her second husband) and nanny (my dad's grandmother). Nanny always drooled from the sides of her mouth, was wrinkly with very pale eyes, walked with a zimmerframe and her house used to smell of cabbage and poo. She used to wear incontinence pants, but instead of throwing them away (they were disposable) she would wash them. She seemed so incredibly old, but she was only in her 80s (my granma is turning 90 in January and doesn't seem as old as Nanny ever did). Grandad always seemed to have piles and had to sit on a cushion- which would then be thrown between us kids, when they left, with squeals of "BUM CUSHION!". My dad would get a very short temper, smoke more, and shout at us if we weren't being helpful enough. My mum would go between being annoyed at him for being so stressed and comforting to us, and comforting him and yelling at us to go entertain the guests while they "hid" in the kitchen and cooked.
One year, the power cut out and my siblings ran out upstairs before I could. I was left to play Old Maid and Rummy with nanny for 3 hours straight.

After my dad left, Christmases were fun again. My granma would always come to stay on Christmas eve and would sleep downstairs on the sofabed. My little brother would wake up at stupid o'clock and take his stocking downstairs to my granma where they would open theirs together (my mum makes up my granma a stocking too). Still early, but a bit later, my brother would come upstairs and wake me up- I'd open my stocking (with his help) with them downstairs. After getting some tea sorted, I would go wake up my older brother. He had a tradition with his friends of going to the pub on Christmas eve and getting very drunk- so waking him up was done as smugly and noisily as possible, with our little brother instructed to jump on the bed. After the initial shock of being woken up, I'd pass my (older) brother his cup of tea and pint of water, and take my little brother downstairs to watch some TV after calling out "Merry Christmas!" to my sister (who usually had a boyfriend in her room and was left to get up on her own accord) and mum and step-dad and telling them their tea was downstairs. We would all convene downstairs after a while, exchange hugs and kisses, brew some coffee, and sit down to Breakfast. It deserves a capital: my mum would spend Christmas Eve making bagels and spiced muffins, and in the morning my step-dad would make scrambled egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon, sausages, black pudding and it would be washed down with buck's fizz made with orange and raspberry juice. After breakfast, presents would be opened and we would all take our time to shower, get dressed and have some time to just relax. Christmas dinner would be prepped by the whole family- apart from older brother who, being a chef, very often had to work until the evening- sat infront of the TV watching christmas films or listening to music, with the cats sat on the windowsil watching everything and waiting for treats. The meal would be eaten in the evening with everyone together- my brother when he finished work, boyfriends and girlfriends, and for the last couple of years we've had a family friend and her two sons over too.
Boxing Day would be spent at my step-dad's parents' house. Long story cut short: step-dad is an old family friend and we would visit his parents' house during the festive season so being at theirs feels natural and not weird-extended-family-oddness.

At the end of what seems like a pretty long and maybe too-sad-for-this-thread explanation: Christmases have gone from being childhood bliss, to stressful and sad, to being happy and good again. Which is what I wanted to say, I guess.


Except my granma's death looms at me from the future and I don't know how I will deal with it. Just typing this is causing me to well up, and she is still alive, healthy and kicking. I'm rubbish at this happy thread... sorry.


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Hobbes
post Dec 11 2010, 05:54 PM
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QUOTE (Daria @ Dec 7 2010, 11:52 PM) *
At the end of what seems like a pretty long and maybe too-sad-for-this-thread explanation: Christmases have gone from being childhood bliss, to stressful and sad, to being happy and good again. Which is what I wanted to say, I guess.


Yay \o/ My Christmas has changed a few times with the loss and movement of family, but the last couple of years has felt mostly good.

QUOTE (Daria @ Dec 7 2010, 11:52 PM) *
Except my granma's death looms at me from the future and I don't know how I will deal with it. Just typing this is causing me to well up, and she is still alive, healthy and kicking. I'm rubbish at this happy thread... sorry.


*hugs*

---

When I was little, it always seemed INCREDIBLY early when my sister and I would wake up to open the presents in our stockings. Chances are, it was probably only 6 or 7 but, in my head, it was more like 4am. By the time I was ten or eleven, there was a certain amount of tradition with the stocking gifts. Amongst the other things, we would always get chocolate coins, some kind of Christmas-themed giant jelly-sweet and, most-rememberd of all, a roll of 35mm camera film smile.gif

Apart from one year, we also weren't allowed to go into the living room until my Grandad arrived. So, whilst my mum and dad were trying to get the Christmas dinner started, I would be trudging back and forth to the window, waiting to see his little red car turn up so that I could at least get a glimpse of the presents.


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